PHARMACY

AstraZeneca to conduct comparison between Crestor and Lipitor

BY Drew Buono

LONDON AstraZeneca announced that it will conduct a clinical trial comparing its cholesterol-fighting drug Crestor with Pfizer’s cholesterol drug Lipitor, the world’s best selling drug, according to Reuters.

The new trial, called SATURN, would compare the drugs’ ability to reduce the progression, or induce regression, of atherosclerosis, the main cause of cardiovascular disease, following two years of treatment in patients with coronary artery disease. Crestor was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration to fight atherosclerosis.

AstraZeneca said the first of around 1,300 patients in the SATURN trial would be enrolled later this month and the study was expected to complete in 2011.

Lipitor had sales of $12.9 billion, compared to Crestor’s $2 billion in 2006.

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Celgene sees year-to-year revenue increase of more than 50 percent

BY Drew Buono

WARREN, N.J. Celgene’s revenue increased by more than 50 percent in 2007 as compared to 2006. The growth was due to sales of its cancer drug Revlimid.

Revlimid is used in combination with the corticosteroid dexamethasone to treat multiple myeloma patients who have received at least one prior therapy. Net sales of the drug increased more than 140 percent in 2007 to nearly $775 million.

The company also reported good sales results for its skin disease treatment drug Thalomid, the chemotherapy drug Alkeran and the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drugs Focalin XR and Ritalin and the Ritalin family of products.

The company expects revenue to increase more than 30 percent this year to approximately $1.8 billion and adjusted diluted earnings per share to increase approximately 45 percent up to $1.55.

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Valeant divests Infergen rights to Three Rivers

BY Drew Buono

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International has completed its divestment of the rights to its hepatitis C drug Infergen in the U.S. and Canada to Three Rivers Pharmaceuticals.

Under the terms of the agreement, Valeant received from Three Rivers an initial payment of about $70.8 million in cash and will receive up to $20.5 million in two noncontingent payments over the next 18 months.

The company had been looking to sell the drug since the third quarter of 2007 due to poor sales.

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